Pope Favors Greater Role for Women, But Not Priesthood
ZENIT reports Pope Benedict's comments during a meeting with priests in Rome. The Pope emphasized only men can be ordained priests, but he favors a greater role for women in the governence of the Church. He reminds us of great saints who have had significant influence in the story of Catholicism, "women do much, I would dare to say, for the governance of the Church, beginning with the sisters of the great Fathers of the Church, such as St. Ambrose, to the great women of the Middle Ages -- St. Hildegard, St. Catherine of Siena -- and later St. Teresa of Avila up to Mother Teresa." Let’s not forget the Church's greatest saint is a woman.
Unfortunately, some Catholics will not be satisfied until the priesthood is open to women. A friend of my told me the church "devalues" women because it does not give them roles of leadership equal to men. This belief is too common.
I can offer the Church's sound theological reasons for an all-male priesthood. Unfortunately, those arguments tend to be unconvincing to those who feel oppressed. Those who feel powerless naturally want to seek power. Let me propose this. We need not look at Holy Orders as a call to power. True, one of a bishop's roles is to govern, but ordination is primarily a call to service. Anyone who desires to be a priest should do so out of a desire to serve God's people, and should be willing to serve in any way God wills. Everyone in the Church should look out for their neighbor. In a community governed by charity, no one should feel powerless. Indeed power should be unnecessary. Granted, we will not see that in its fullness until Christ comes again, but we should try our best.